After losing a tight Game 1 thanks to a nice Pavel Datsyuk 1-0 goal, the Boston Bruins raced out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and cruised to a 4-1 win on Sunday, tying their first-round series 1-1 with the Detroit Red Wings in the process.
The Bruins generated that early lead thanks to firsts as Justin Florek and Reilly Smith scored for Boston. (It was a big Sunday for the Smith family, as Brendan challenged Zdeno Chara to end the first period.)
After the Bruins’ strong start, the Red Wings dominated much of the second period, yet the teams traded goals as Milan Lucic matched Luke Glendening’s efforts. (Those who wanted a Lucic suspension probably bristled.)
A power-play goal from Chara basically locked it up at 4-1 in the third period, giving the Bruins a win that’s relatively easy (at least compared to these early 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs games).
The series now shifts to Detroit tied 1-1. All things considered, the Red Wings are probably glad to split the first two games against the Bruins (who won the Presidents’ Trophy this season). Many believed that this could be a much tougher series than the usual top vs. bottom seed fair, and even with two very different games in mind, that could very well be the case.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.